What a delight it was to see bags of Finger Limes at the green shed last week!
They have a short season, so use them now. The fun part in using them is cutting them in half, massaging them and squeezing them like toothpaste to get the little pearls out.
Finger Lime Syrup
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- Flesh from 6 large finger limes
Simmer sugar, water and limes for 10 minutes until thick.
Strain into a bottle and use on pancakes or as a desert with fruit and ice cream.
The Finger Lime (Citrus australasica) is a rare rainforest tree originally from the Eastern coast of Australia.
The Finger Lime is native to Australia and has been used as a food source for many thousands of generations by the Australian Aboriginal people.
Due to land clearing by European settlement for farming, much of this rare fruit was destroyed; however isolated pockets of sub-tropical rainforest on private land and National Parks still remain with some Finger Lime trees surviving.
They are found in their natural state in the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales , the hinterland of Byron Bay and on our beautiful Tamborine Mountain.
Because the fruit is so similar in appearance to fish eggs it is often referred to as "lime caviar", "caviar lime" or "citrus caviar".
Any food with caviar in its name gets my interest straight away!
The commercially grown finger limes are now grafted on to "trifoliata" root stock for strength and vigour. The native Finger Lime fruit is pale green, but now a virtual rainbow of varieties and colours are available.
With varieties that sound like a paint colour chart, such as “Purple Viola”, “Pink Ice”, “Jali Red”, “Mia Rose” and “Rainforest, Jade, Diamond, Garnet, Pearl and Topaz” Who could resist a fruit with such wonderful exotic names.
Ginger and Finger Lime Vinaigrette
The lime 'caviar pearls' compliment any cultures' cooking, and it goes particularly well with fresh Australian seafood. The uses are only limited by your creative cooking imagination.
Finger Limes can be frozen for later use, the skin goes soft but the fruit keeps its unique pearl like quality.
The small unique vesicles or lime crystals that make up the fruit pulp, "pop" as you eat them releasing a fresh burst of lime juice into your mouth.
I have been using them in the cooking school in the last 2 weeks and people who have eaten them before all say they are great in a Gin and Tonic or floating in a champagne cocktail!!
There are other uses though that don’t include alcohol:
- An attractive garnish on all seafood, especially oysters and Japanese style dishes
- In Asian style dips and sauces
- Substitute for lemon juice salad dressings
- Use instead of citrus rind in cakes and icings
- Great in a lemon custard tart, or mixed with cream as a desert sauce
- Other uses are in jams and relishes and Thai curries.
Finger Limes Are Environmentally Friendly
Because they are an Australian native they are suited to growing here.
They require very little fertilizer and water, don’t need to be sprayed for pests and their feature that I like the best (besides the delicious fruit) is their thorny branches provide a natural habitat for birds to nest.
The more birds that are in my garden the better, as they eat the grubs that have their eyes on my kitchen garden and fruit trees.